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Activate your teaching

Do you often have the need for writing equations, drawing pictograms, graphs or otherwise illustrate a point in the middle of a video conference lecture? Do your students ask subject related questions that are not on your slides?

Or have you found yourself bringing an object to class, which turns out difficult to see for those who are not sitting on the first rows, or are unable to walk up to see it during the break, i.e. students in the "far end" of a video conference situation?

In this video, we present solutions to help you in such situations. Some of these can also be used in plenary, when students do exercises on paper, on a white board, on their own computer, or through physically manipulating objects (such as wiring of electronic equipment or playing music instruments)

These uses may also give you, as a teacher, a better sense of the students’ progression in sessions with video conference teaching… And you get to know them better. Many teachers tell us that they only see badly lit or very small images of the people at the "far end". In this way, you will see some of your students up close - and they will see each other.


Teach using your smartphone

In this video, Rikke, Peter, and Birgitte, introduce various set-ups while discussing their possible uses. The situation is recorded in a meeting room that serves to illustrate how you and your students can use these tools in supervision, group project work, exercises, as well as and Q&A sessions.


Teach using your tablet

Make use of your tablet PC's potential in a virtual meeting room. 


Teach using document cameras

Document cameras are versatile and easy to use. In this video, we discuss their potential in meetings and in education, both in traditional classroom settings, and for use in video conference teaching across campuses.

Here's a link to the document camera review mentioned in the video.

Keep in mind that sometimes you can support active participation by having the students connect their phone, or computer, and show and discuss results of their work on exercises, or their PBL projects, via the webcam on the computer, or via the mobile phone, or the document camera. It gives the students the initiative to show, tell, and ask questions to each other. Often this is much quicker than sharing via Moodle, and it creates an informal atmosphere with some laughs, e.g. from funny angles.

Bring a guest into the virtual meeting room

Often we connect and use video conference between two campuses directly. But we also have the ability to bring in a guest - for example a visitor from a company, perhaps a former student?

In this video, I am standing in an AAU seminar room with my student assistant Nicolai, presenting via text some of the pedagogical uses of the virtual meeting room feature, and demonstrating its use.

For more information on the general use of Skype for Business and how to set it up, see the ITS pages.

Make the most of powerpoint

Drawing in PowerPoint — especially using a finger or pen on a Surface tablet — is a powerful way of illustrating a concept during a video conference. Here are some useful things to know when writing equations, diagrams, etc. Shortcuts are a great way to execute often-used functions quickly. You can use the shortcut buttons on the tablet pen, or though the keyboard. This guide is based on the Micosoft Surface PC, as it is the type recommended by ITS at AAU and serviceable by the help desk.


Icon size

If you find that you often do not hit the right icon, perhaps you will find it easier with the Surface in the tablet mode. Tap the screen with a finger and you will get larger icons for functions such as choosing ink color.



If you draw or write on many slides and need an overview or to jump quickly between them, you can use the see all slides function or icon, which grant you this view while in presentation mode.



If you are not in presentation mode, and wish to begin the presentation from the specific slide you are on, you do not need to start at the first slide and scroll down. Instead, press Shift+F5 and the presentation will open on the same slide as you are currently on.



In general, it is useful to use shortcuts when using the pen, or your finger, on the touch screen while in presentation mode. You will find a list of default shortcuts from the presentation mode under the help icon in the menu.

Other useful shortcuts are:

  •  Ctrl + a   — Switch between mouse pointer and arrow
  •  Crlt + p   — Pen
  •  Ctrl + l    — Laser pointer
  •  Ctrl + i    — Maker pen
  •  Ctrl + e   — Eraser
  •  Ctrl + m  — Erases everything! Exercise caution when using.

It h as come to our attention that as the last item in the menu is “erase all ink”, some teachers experience that they often hit “erase all” accidentally when using their hand. Use of shortcuts may prevent such accidents.


Lay it flat

When you draw something that needs a bit of detailing, or which is many lines of codes, equations etc., it is often better to have the screen flat on the table. You can actually have the keyboard connected in this position as well, which means that you can access the short cut mode from this position and project via the video conference screens.

However, often rotation to a standing position (as having an piece of paper on the tall portrait side) does not project that well. We recommend that you do a little experimenting on your own.

In general, there are tons of websites and YouTube videos that provide information for use in PowerPoint and other software. Use some of the following search terms: use of pen, drawing, sketching or annotations in X – where X is the software you want to use. Have fun exploring.


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